The first time I walked up the undulating cobblestones to the Medieval Museum a couple of years ago I was excited. I had an interest in the overlapping of history and art, but I had contently viewed every artifact in the museum within forty-five minutes.
As you may imagine, I was overwhelmed with my most recent timeframe at the Cloisters. Three hours was more than enough time to revisit an exhibition. I decided that the first piece that I found intriguing I would sketch in my journal. I found a Beautiful sculpture of Saint Anthony Abbot in the first room. Surprisingly it was his face that caught my eye, but the devil
at his feet that ignited my curiosity. This 15th century walnut sculpture portrayed the hermit heroically resisting the devil’s viciousness, impaling its mouth with his staff.
I continued to sketch what amazed me. I had become so absorbed in the art that I almost missed the tour –which had proved to be far more interesting than I could have imagined thanks to our connoisseur. I was fascinated by the symbols that classified the saints, the physics of the gothic windows, and the history of the construction of the Cloister’s. My second visit to the museum had been drastically more pleasurable than my first experience.
Contrary, I was a little disappointed with our brief experience in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Being there several times, I knew what I wanted to see more of and what had already lost my interest. I never have enough time in the gargantuan museum to further explore the European Art –which is what truly captivates me. I could simply sit and admire the brushstrokes in some of the paintings for hours.
I envied the art classes held in the Met, and even the people that are free to sketch the Greek sculptures at their will. For a moment when our class was amongst all of the white, beautifully carved human figures, I thought I would finally have my opportunity to full on sketch. To my dismay we hurried on to see the Pompeii room before I could finish.
For a museum as large as the Met, we were not given enough time to explore on our own. Yes, it is an overwhelming floor plan that prevents any human from viewing everything in one day; it is also a building that contains such a considerable variety of art, that everyone finds something that interests them.
I would not object to another visit to both the Cloisters Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am curious to see if yet another experience is possible.